Felician University To Use 100,000 NEH Grant for Prism Paterson Program

The Great Falls of Paterson is one of the largest waterfalls in the United States. Every day thousands pass by this stunning natural wonder unaware of its prominent presence. One could call it a jewel of Paterson hiding in plain sight.

The same could be said of the city’s many fine artists, both past and present. Felician University wants to change that with a $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) – Humanities Initiatives at Hispanic Serving Institutions Grant.

The grant will be used to fund “Prism Paterson,” a new Interdisciplinary Humanities Program, the purpose of which will be to strengthen the teaching of the Humanities at Felician. The new program offers six place-based-learning courses that make up separate Minor and Certificate programs focusing on the literature, music, art, and photography of the city of Paterson, New Jersey

Too often students study the Humanities by looking at literature and the arts from the distant past, created in distant places. Paterson has significant writers, poets, artists, and musicians who were inspired by the city which played a major role in the Early Industrial Revolution.

“Prism Paterson” will offer students the experience of combining trips to historic and artistic sites in Paterson with meeting some of Paterson’s important artists, musicians, poets, and writers and studying their widely acclaimed works. Students will learn about these famous people who have walked on the same streets they have and felt the same emotions and inspirations that live in our students’ own hearts today. The program is available to students (about 20% of whom are from Paterson) in all majors, whether from Paterson or not. Students do not need to have a connection to Paterson to enroll in these engaging new courses.

The new courses include the Literature of Paterson, Music of Paterson, a studio course on Photography in Paterson, Community Writing in Paterson, Travel Writing about Paterson, and Texts and Contexts: Social and Cultural History of Paterson. Creating new experiential courses in the Humanities that reflect Felician University’s first-generation students’ identities will increase student engagement, improve skills, enhance retention, initiate collaborative opportunities, and build long-lasting connections between the City of Paterson and the University, enriching Humanities learning at Felician.

This program will be implemented by the team of Arts & Sciences Humanities faculty led by Dr. Sherida Yoder and members Dr. Kristen Abbey, Dr. Barbara Gordon, Dr. Robert McParland, Prof. Michael Nyklewicz, and Dr. Julie O’Connell.

About Felician University

Felician University engages over 2,300 undergraduate, graduate, and adult students through programs in Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing, and Education. Universal Franciscan values of social justice, compassion, and respect for human dignity serve as an inclusive foundation for transforming the lives of tomorrow's leaders. Felician University's education is ranked 3rd best return on investment for private colleges in New Jersey 2018 by the PayScale.com College ROI Report and is ranked #1 safest college campus in the state by niche.com.